Happy Birthday, Mr. Chavez!

Cesar Chavez would have been 83 today.A hero in the non-violent movement school of justice-achieving, Sr. Chavez was seriously badass. In honor of Chavez, today I'm taking the day to remind us all that

"There is no food justice without labor justice.
No workers, no farms. No farms, no food.

That pearl comes from EdibleAria. If you live in California (and even if you don't), please visit the UFW's site to see which farms in your area treat their workers with dignity and pay a living wage. Just as paleo peeps wouldn't want to eat inhumanely raised animals, we should also make it our mission to avoid eating food from farms where workers are treated inhumanely.



Tricia's thoughts about not cutting calories vs. just not eating the damn cake reminded me of things I've been mulling over since I started eating paleo.

1) If you've sucked out all the calories, I'll pass, thanks. I think this about Diet Coke, specifically, and other products such as fat free _insert item that is normally filled with fat_. If I really want that item, I'll take it regular, and pay the price--the reduced calorie version is going to taste like crap anyway and probably have all sorts of junk in it that doesn't exist in its natural state outside of a lab.
2) If the shelf life isn't over for 2 more years, I'll pass. What could I possibly be eating that will look/taste just the same in 2 years as it does now? If the food item is not aging faster than I am, as a general rule, I don't want any part of it. (This also fits in with my vanity, but that's a post for another day.)
3) If it costs $.99, I'm guessing it's not real meat. You see these commercials all the time for $.99 breakfasts at Wendy's or Burger King or other fast food places.* If your profit margin is such that you can charge me only 99 cents for meat patty and not worry about it, I am pretty sure what you're serving me is not meat. At least not any kind of meat that I want to put near my precious internal organs.

*I understand that sometime fast food restaurants will take a loss on one item because they'll recoup the money when people inevitably buy something else with a high mark-up, but my point remains the same because they're not going to be willing to lose that
much money on any item.

This last one in particular bugs me, and illustrates why eating paleo is as much political for me as it is about getting strong and lean.

I don't think that eating healthily should be an option open only to wealthy people. Yet those of us who follow a paleo diet know that it can be expensive. So you compare the added costs of grass fed beef to the uber cheap fast food meat, and there is very little chance that indigent people will see paleo eating as an option.

Yesterday I spent the day driving through very rural, very poor (often Black) parts of Alabama. Fast food ads were everywhere. It so rural that there would be nothing around for 30 miles except a McDonalds. How often do you think the supply truck makes it up there to restock the goods? The deals were so cheap (like the $.99 breakfast) that there is little chance that you could feed your family that cheaply by going to a grocery store, assuming there was one to go to.

Which brings me to my most central thought, which is: if predatory lending is outlawed, why don't we do something about predatory fast food? (I need to get a better description of what it is. But basically I mean the centering of fast food in poor neighborhoods, and the food prices that make not eating at fast food restaurants prohibitive.) And what could we do about it?



You know you're officially a member of the paleo/primal/crossfit cult when you find yourself taking weird supplements.  After a horrific week wherein my insomnia won the sleep war with my mono, I succumbed to Tony and Karen's advice and ordered me some vitamins. At their suggestion, I picked up some fish oil, super enzymes, Natural Calm (magnesium) and vitamin-D.  Unfortunately, I couldn't find any Carlson's Fish Oil, so I picked up some Arctic Pure. (I'm sure this means something to somebody.) I've been pleasantly surprised by its mild lemon taste -- it's serving as a fairly tasty dressing for my salad right now.  I was not so pleasantly surprised to read that super enzymes have Oxen Bile in them. Um, Tony, Karen, you couldn't give me fair warning on that one?

Going forward

So, despite this blog, and my love of CFG, I've been resistant to say this, but here goes: this challenge has changed my life. As strange as it is to think, things will never be the same, though the changes aren't necessarily in ways I expected.

Yes, I'll continue to eat mostly paleo (with the addition of dairy), yes, I'm going to keep on Crossfitting (where available), but more importantly than that, I'm going to pay a whole lot of attention to sustainability, food politics, and what we are doing to the environment around us.

The biggest changes in my life? I'm going to limit the amount of packaging and waste I use daily. Other than condiments (and until I find a good butcher, meats and cheese), I'm going to try and buy all my food unpackaged and unaltered by man. It's going to be a rough row to hoe, but from now on, only organic produce and grass-fed/range proteins. If it's not from the source, it's not going into my body. And if it's going to destroy the environment to get it to me, it's not going in either.

I know, crazy right? How does a gal go from a challenge on fitness and diet to a transformation in her environmental and food politics? Try reading the ingredients label on all your food for 30 days, and see where that takes you. Add in some information about crazy stuff in meat, a blog about what we feed our kids, a documentary on our individual impact, and well, you start to see a pattern. It's all connected - what we eat, what we buy, and what we believe. And I believe we need to do something more than just get ourselves in shape. We need to get this planet in shape - physically, politically, and environmentally.

So yeah, there are going to be some big changes coming for me. There are a lot of things I want to start doing now and some not till I move. (Don't worry, I'll be posting about them as I go.)  But the fact remains. 7 weeks of eating right and moving right with a community has changed my life. And it sort of makes me want to change yours.


We did it!

Today is our last day of the GBOGH challenge. I do believe tomorrow I will have a cup of coffee. I've missed it.


In honor of my roomie:

A bit of art for your Monday morning:

From the ever-fabulous Ashley G., whose couple drawings I'm sort of in love with.


I have mono

So, at the urging of some friends, I went in for a physical yesterday to check on my ridiculous drowsiness. Turns out, I have mono.

There's not really much I can do about it. Doctor said to rest, eat, drink and be merry, and otherwise, I just have to wait it out. I figure I'll definitely stick to paleo for the time being -- natural foods are healthy foods, but I have no idea what to do about crossfit. According to what I've read online, heavy lifting is out. It puts too much stress on the spleen, and can cause it to burst. (Wonderful.) For the time being, that's fine, because all I really want to do right now is sleep. (I feel asleep 4x in the doctor's office.) That said, how will I know when I can workout again? How long does it take? A week? 2 weeks? Does anyone have any experience with this?

Brilliant idea

Colleague just told me what she had for lunch. Looking it up on the restaurant's online menu, it cost her $9.99. I will make some and take to work next week for much less than $9.99.

The idea:

1. Take a shrimp (pre-cooked or not). Score it down the middle, so that it's sliced, but not into two pieces.

2. Take a jalapeno pepper slice and stick it in the scored-pocket.

3. Wrap shrimp with piece of bacon.

4. BBQ until bacon is done. Won't take too long.

5. Devour.

I'm thinking this is PERFECT for a springtime picnic. Anyone want to join along?


Keeping me humble

Earlier this morning, I took off my suit jacket because it is so dang hot in my office, and have been sitting around in a tank top to try and cool off.

Client: Been working out, eh?
Me: Huh?
Client: [Reaches for arm to feel my muscles] Weeelll, you've got some muscle at least. [Proceeds to show me his guns and how well defined they are.]
Me: Stop showing off! That's my job!
Client: I don't even work out.
Me: Again, stop bragging! It's not nice!
Client: He he he. You'll get there someday, Meagan.


I have several posts in the queue, but I can't bring myself to write them. I've been exhausted for the past 2 days, not physically, but in a "I can't keep my eyes open" sort of way. This is pretty much me at work right now:


Challenge Benchmark #1

My results

Push press (3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3)
3/8: 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, 100
2/1: 55, 65, 75, 85, 90, 95

Metcon: 5 rounds for time 200m run, 10 burpees
3/8: 10:20 Rx'ed
2/1: 11:19 - modified with squat thrusts instead of burpees

I wish I had tried to go up 5 more lbs on the push press, but by the time it occurred to me, I had already done the metcon, and couldn't press it out over my head. The burpee metcon was great for getting my burpees out of the way (I'm doing the 100 day burpee challenge), but not much else. I loathe being the slowest person in the gym, and I was by far today. Sigh.

Tricia is right

Ripe avocado makes everything better.


Sweet Potato with Almond Butter

OMG you are delicious. Thank you to my lawschool classmate Sarah and her sister Katelyn on this one:
I always hesitate to post simple meal ideas, but then again the simple things are sometimes the hardest to conjure up in a moment of hunger. So I give you the Simple Sunday Sweet Potato--roasted (ok, nuked for 4 minutes then put in the oven at 450 to get the carmel factor without the time), then topped with 2 T almond butter. The almond butter melts into a thin swirl of richness. Complemented with a huge pile of torn chard and spinach wilted with olive oil, sea salt, and garlic, this was everything it needed to be. Any type of nut or seed butter would be delicious.
Via Today I Cooked


Whew, I'm tired.

I think it's taking more energy to stay positive/not complain about my already sore legs in preparation for today's WOD than the WOD itself will take.

Addiction, Part II

Now that it is March and New Years resolutions are seemingly forgotten, there seems to be an influx of desserts everywhere I turn. (Brownies, cookies, breakfast pastries, you name it.)

I have two reactions, almost simultaneously. One is desire--sugar, yum! and the other comes a split second later, as a sick feeling in my stomach, which translates in words to something like ugh, hamster wheel of wanting sugar all the time, don't want, don't want, don't want...

On a drive a few months ago, I heard an episode of the Dianne Rehm show with Dr. David Kessler, who himself has struggled with disordered eating in the past. He had fascinating things to say, like how fat, sugar, and salt together create this potent combination that trigger pleasure centers in our brain,* and so we need those sugar-salt-fat combo foods so we can hit the pleasure button in our brain again. He told a story about how he someone gave him a bag of M&Ms that he put in a bottom drawer at work, and for the rest of the day, tickling his conscious, would be the idea of those M&Ms sitting there.

I tend to see the world through psychological lenses. Dr. Kessler's take helps me explain why sugar has such a hold on me above and beyond my psychobabble. Not only does it trigger childhood fatty memories, not only does eating tons of sugar "numb" a bad day, but I also am dealing with neurons that are aching to be lit up by the sugar. Without a serious team backing me up (Karen, Tony, Tricia, many of you at the gym), it's just me against my psychology and my physiology. That's a lot for one person to take on alone, even if that person is a badass.

*Tricia would like that part of Dr. Kessler's book is all about how the food industry, knowing about this potent s-s-f combo, capitalizes on it to make as many foods as possible contain the trifecta of addiction, to keep us hooked and keep their profits rising. He headed the FDA under Bush I and Clinton, so I guess he would know...


If you are what you eat,

then I fear for our future. Just stumbled upon the Fed Up: School Lunch Project. It's a great blog by a teacher who is eating school lunch every day in 2010. This was today's:

Seriously amazing stuff. Go there and take a look.

The Food Film You Probably Haven't Seen

You've heard of Food, Inc. and you've probably heard of The Future of Food, but I'm willing to guess the film Pig Business doesn't ring a bell. And according to this article, it's because it's effectively been banned in the U.S.

That’s how it’s gone with the British 2009 documentary film Pig Business. I watched this film in several 10-minute segments via YouTube (Part One) because it hasn’t been released in the U.S., primarily due to legal pressure brought upon the director (Tracy Worcester, who spent four years making the film) by the film’s main villain, Smithfield Foods. The world’s largest pork producer, Smithfield has 52,000 employees processing 27 million pigs per year in 15 countries, accruing annual sales around $12 billion. The UK’s Channel 4 ran the film last summer despite four letters from Smithfield threatening litigation, but since no U.S. insurer would back the film’s release here, it has become essentially a black-market film. Score another one for corporate censorship.

The more I read about this, the more I'm starting to think meat should have an ingredients label on it. Trailer for the film below. The whole movie is available on Youtube.

via Feminist Law Professors.

Annals of a Diet Crack Addict

Tricia alerted me to this post over at PaleoChix. It's about Patty's addiction to Diet Coke. Patty is a crossfit trainer and looks fit, no? All you have to do is Google it and you'll see that Patty is in no way alone--this is a big issue out there.

Which leads me to: My name is Meagan, and I'm a Diet Coke Addict.

I've been clean for 5 weeks and 1 day. I know that sounds dramatic, but I really do think I'm an addict. I've been addicted, I'd say, since about the beginning of 2009, though there were warning signs of addiction long before. In high school, I started drinking a diet coke anytime we went out to Thai food. From that point on, any time I ate Thai food, I wanted a Diet Coke. They just went together, you see?

How bad did my addiction get? Here's an impromptu email from a colleague during a particularly stressful time at work, who thought to clue me in on his observation of my soda consumption.

(This is really embarrassing to post. Of course, at the time I wasn't that embarrassed. Because I was an addict chasing her addiction. DOH!)

To: Meagan
From: Beloved Colleague
10:47am, Feb. 3, 2009
Subject: Diet Coke's [sic] Log

10:47 am

Three sodas before 11am. I sent back two rationalizing emails.

To: Beloved Colleague
From: Meagan
Date: 10:50am, Feb. 3, 2009
Subject: RE: Diet Coke's [sic] Log

Does it make it any better if...
Coffee Log:
Damn. Didn't think so.
To: Beloved Colleague
From: Meagan
Date: 11:16am, Feb. 3, 2009
Subject: RE: Diet Coke's [sic] Log

I feel totally gross for consuming diet coke before noon. Must do something about this, because it’s all kinds of wrong. Not that I didn’t do the same thing yesterday, too…

And I did do something about it--in July! I did a one month self-imposed Paleo-ish challenge (kept dairy) and got off of soda. In August, I went to a movie with a friend and ordered a soda. Drank only a few sips and was done. I though, "Aha! My addiction is conquered!" And for a few weeks, I had about one soda a week. It tasted gross, it wasn't for me.

But then stress of work crashed down on me in the fall and I reached for my comfort item: diet coke. I started stopping off at lunch at the Walgreens or the Dollar Store to get a bottle (or two), feeling as if I needed that soda to get through the afternoon.

I miss a few non-paleo foods on this challenge. I miss delicious cheese. The idea of moist chocolate cake makes me salivate. I miss a *good* cappuccino every once in awhile. I don't miss Diet Coke. I crave it, sometimes viscerally. But I don't miss it. I hope that is the difference that makes me stay off the crack for good.


Bob's Red Mill Natural Foods

Considering how many Red Mill products I've been buying lately (i.e. shredded coconut, almond flour), I was delighted to read this article. Apparently, Bob, the owner, decided to give the company over to his employees on his 81st birthday. From the article:

Scores of employees gathered to help Bob Moore celebrate his 81st birthday this week at the company that bears his name, Bob's Red Mill Natural Foods.

Moore, whose mutual love of healthful eating and old-world technologies spawned an internationally distributed line of products, responded with a gift of his own — the whole company. The Employee Stock Ownership Plan that Moore unveiled means that his 209 employees now own the place and its 400 offerings of stone-ground flours, cereals and bread mixes.

Such a delightful story that certainly makes giving over my cash for high quality and delicious product even easier.

If Russia doesn't want our chickens, neither do I

Fascinating links from this article on Change.org. Apparently, Russia is banning US chickens as they are routinely treated with chlorine. Not only are they not the only country to ban our hens, they also banned most US pork products due to "the presence of oxytetracycline (a broad-spectrum antibiotic)."

Can you imagine if our meat products had ingredient labels?


Growing up, I had a dear friend, Arwen. Arwen was cute as a button, a ballet and tap dancer, and all around sweet friend. I remember us pretending to be unicorns at recess in the fourth grade with Raquel, Amy, and Rebekkah. I remember her Winnie the Pooh sweatshirts from high school.

Cut to this past November, and my high school reunion. I walk in, and there was Arwen, wearing heavy eyeliner, dressed all in black, talking about a Metallica concert with her similarly dressed husband (minus the eyeliner, if I recall correctly). Still gorgeous, and still Arwen, but at the same time, radically different.

I tell you that story to explain last night's culinary delight. It started with one of my favorite kitchen dishes, a strawberry pie plate that I picked up because I couldn't resist its charms at the goodwill:

I don't know if you can tell, but in the center there is written out the directions for strawberry pie. Vintage cuteness, right?!

Well, after roughly half an hour in the oven, my cute-as-pie-plate became this:

MEATSA PIE! (This picture captures it poorly but the crust is all ground beef/sausage combo. If that's not a transformation on the order of Winnie the Pooh to Metallica badassness, I challenge you to show me what is.

Food Revolution

I'll never get over this.

And for those of you who haven't seen Jamie Oliver's Ted Talk, get to it.


When they're right, they're right.

A SAD-eating friend found this fortune in his fortune cookie:

"The food here taste so good, even a cave man likes it."

Recipe Roundup

We've been pretty busy on the Crossfit Genius Paleo Cookbook. Here's what we've posted:

Even Bad Asses Get The Blues

So I've been pretty quiet on the blog for the past week. I've been super busy at work and though I've kept up on the paleo eating and getting to the gym, I haven't been getting enough sleep, or more importantly, any time to relax. Which brings me to the importance of rest days, not just from the gym, but from stressors in general.

I'm no doctor, but I can't stress enough the importance of making time for yourself. I've been hitting work hard for the past few weeks and I'm totally feeling it. Though technically I've been doing everything right, the lack of downtime is starting to make it feel like I've been doing everything wrong. I'm tired all the time, I'm not sleeping right, workouts feel tedious, I vacillate between feeling down, angry and/or detached,and I sort of feel like I'm getting sick. It's not that hard to figure out what's going on - my body is telling me things aren't right.

So this weekend, I tried to make a little space. I watched a movie at a friend's, I went to the dog park, I found some time to try new recipes for the week. This doesn't mean I'm feeling all that better. This boat is certainly not going to right itself overnight. Especially since things aren't looking any easier on the work front. (I finally crawled out from under a mountain of work to be rewarded with another mountain of work. ) On top of that, I'm still frustrated that I'm not seeing some of the results I wanted (which makes sense given this study), and I feel like I need a vacation. But it's important to note, that what I'm craving doesn't include a break from Paleo or working out. If anything, I wish I could spend more time at the gym, doing the things that make me feel better. And really, when this challenge is over, there are only a few things I want to add back into my diet (wine, chocolate, cheese.)

Anyhow, this is just a long ramble to say sorry for my absence. And whether you missed me or not, I'm back and itching for a fight.